Finding the finest bookstores in Barcelona was one of the first tasks I undertook after moving into the city. I wanted to explore these vast and fascinating places and hunt for some nice English titles.
I promptly consulted the web and soon was ready to set out on my bicycle journey. I took pictures of the stores I visited and segregated them from the best to the least good. It was as if I was compiling Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores. The difference was, that I was moving around the bookish world of Barcelona.
The 15 Best English Bookstores in Barcelona:
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 616, Barcelona, Cataluña. This bookstore is amazing on so many different levels (literally). It has two grand floors, filled mostly with travel books. If you’re a traveler you will want to stay here forever. In Altaïr you will find maps of all kinds, a quaint café in the back, marvelous artifacts from around the world, travel equipment, a projector for travel movies, and even a traditional message board where people try to convince you to join them on a journey. Opening hours: Monday – Saturday – 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
Montseny, 17, Barcelona, Cataluña. This bookstore is a bit out of Barcelona’s center, but it’s worth a visit. It sells almost only second-hand English titles at a really low cost. You can browse its bookshelves and hew out your favorite reads for as little as 3 euros (compare it to around 12 euros or more for new books). There’s something magical about second-hand books. It’s as if you inherit it from a stranger you know you’d like. Opening hours: Monday – Saturday – 11:00 AM – 8:30 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
3. La Central del Raval
C. d’Elisabets, 6, Barcelona, Cataluña. If you never got lost at a bookstore, visit this place. After crossing its most inconspicuous entrance, you’ll find yourself in a grand vault of knowledge and wisdom. There are three levels, narrow passages, and all kinds of subjects. I’m afraid you won’t find an “English” section here, but since Barcelona is such a cosmopolitan place, you’ll be able to find English books on random bookshelves. This adds to the labyrinth-like mystique of the place. Opening hours: Monday – Saturday – 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
4. La Central
C. de Mallorca, 237 (C. de Balmes), Barcelona, Cataluña. This is a smaller cousin of “La Central del Raval” but it shouldn’t escape your attention. It has two levels and seems to be a very hip place. The books are herded into particular categories such as “music” or “classics” and among them, you’ll surely find some good English reads. Upstairs, you’ll find a beautiful café with a vast terrace. All year long, it serves as a meeting place between authors and the audiences. Opening hours: Monday – Saturday – 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
C. de Pau Claris, 85 (C. de Casp), Barcelona, Cataluña. This place looks humble from the outside, but you’ll find its vaults rich in books of all kinds. And it’s more than a bookstore. It also has a cozy upstairs café where you can dive into your newly found reads while enjoying a warm beverage. It’s a bit out of the main tourist routes so you can peruse the bookshelves in peace. Opening hours: Monday – Friday – 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Saturday – 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
6. Casa del Libro
Rambla de Catalunya, 37 (Diputacio), Barcelona, Cataluña. Casa del Libro is the biggest bookstore chain in Spain and it always hosts a few shelves of books in English. The store is easily accessible as it’s based on the famous Rambla de Catalunya that’s just teeming with tourists. It’s huge and has titles on every subject imaginable. Unfortunately, the English section is rather slim and contains only novels. But why not learn some Spanish? Opening hours: Monday – Saturday – 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM, Sunday – 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM. The store on Google Maps.
7. Casa del Libro
Passeig de Gràcia, 62, Barcelona, Cataluña. This place is vast, full of light, and very modern. You could step in here just to appreciate the design. At the beginning of the bookstore, you’ll find around five huge shelves full of novels in English. And at the very end of the place, there’s a beautiful garden with exotic plants which serves as a forum for talks about art, entertainment, and music. Opening hours: Monday – Saturday – 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
8. Come in Libreria Anglesa
Carrer de Balmes, 129-Bis, Barcelona, Cataluña. Libreria Anglesa is designed mostly for English learners from around Spain, but it also has many interesting novels and non-fiction titles. The place is not so beautiful, but it makes up for it by offering books at low prices, containing many English titles, and having nice shop attendants. Opening hours: Monday – Friday – 9:30 AM – 8:30 PM, Saturday – 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM, 4:30 PM – 8:00 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
9. Re-read Gran Via
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 564, Barcelona, Cataluña. This is a treat, especially for English book lovers. Re-read is a second-hand bookstore situated on Gran Via – one of the main streets of Barcelona. They have excellent deals and regular prices for all the books. You can get 1 book for 3 euros, 2 books for 5 euros, or 5 books for 10 euros. There’s a large collection of fiction in English but also in other languages such as French, German, or Italian. Opening hours: Monday – Saturday – 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM, 4:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
10. Loring Art
C. Gravina, 8 (C. dels Tallers), Barcelona, Cataluña. Loring Art is a quaint little place that’s thick with books on contemporary art, graphic design, and all things visual. If you’re into photography, filmmaking, design, drawing, painting, architecture, or comics, they will have to drag you out of there by force. Opening hours: Monday – Friday – 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 4:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Saturday & Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
11. Arkham Comics
c/ Xuclà, 16, Barcelona, Cataluña. Arkham Comics is situated in the very heart of the city and boasts a great collection of comics from all around the world. The place is very small, as it’s one room stuffed to the ceiling with comic books. If you’re into anime, manga, hentai, or fantastically illustrated children’s books, this is a place for you. It has a kind of underground feel to it. Opening hours: Monday – Saturday – 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
12. Llibreria Gigamesh
C. de Bailén, 8 (C. Alí Bei), Barcelona, Cataluña. This is a true realm of Barcelonan geeks. Never before have I seen so many comics, board games, fantasy books, mystery novels, ghost stories, and wonderfully designed titles of all kinds. The place is vast and you’ll never get enough of it. Unlike other bookstores that offer mostly paperbacks, Gilgamesh boasts a huge collection of “treasure books” – rich in illustrations, with awesome binding and gilded pages. Opening hours: Monday – Saturday – 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
C. de Buenos Aires, 6, Barcelona, Cataluña. Situated in the northern part of Barcelona, this bookstore is a treat for any self-respecting bookworm. Just at the entrance, you’ll find a nice café with fresh coffee and pastries. Further on, there’s a huge collection of Catalan literature, as well as a special place for kids that’s filled with children’s books, games, and even a small playground. Unfortunately, they have just a couple of titles in English. Opening hours: Monday – Friday – 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday – 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps.
14. Laie CB
C. de Montalegre, 5, Barcelona, Cataluña. Laie CCCB is situated in the huge complex of the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB). It offers some truly amazing titles on contemporary art, as well as stationery and bookworm equipment of all kinds. After visiting the bookstore, you can step into CCCB to check out their exhibitions and public lectures. Opening hours: Monday – Sunday – 10:30 AM – 8:30 PM. The store on Google Maps.
15. Librería Medios
Valldonzella, 7, Barcelona, Cataluña. This bookstore specializes in all things cinema, art, graphic design, photography, cinematography, and architecture. It’s a very small place but has many interesting titles (also in English). The shopkeepers are very pleasant and happy to answer your questions. After the visit, you can also step into the nearby Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona. Opening hours: Monday – Friday – 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday – 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Sunday – Closed. The store on Google Maps. That’s it! Next up, you may want to check the top book publishing companies in Chicago.
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